Tag Archives: Advertising

Validity in Assessing Ad Communication & Impact Under The Radar

Today’s blog post comes from Dr. David Forbes, Ph.D. & Judith Retensky Forbes Consulting, an exhibitor at The Market Research Event 2012.

Typically, good advertising has to come in ‘under the radar’ ‘ that is, be persuasive in ways that are subtle ‘ appealing to emotions and deep-rooted psychological motivations. One type of research that attempts to measure these reactions is the communication check.

Communication check research typically takes place when advertisers have reached a fairly specific vision about an upcoming ad campaign. The ‘check’ is used to gain a preliminary look at how the ad will ‘work’ ‘ what messages it will convey and how those messages will be received.

However, respondents are often unable to give accurate reports about their reactions to advertising since the important communications usually take place below the conscious intellectual level, and the kinds of impact good advertising can create are precisely those that respondents don’t want to acknowledge. Given these constraints, how should researchers proceed? Following the 6 steps in the communication check process can help to accurately measure reactions and optimize the campaign.

Step 1: Use Developed Stimuli

Stimuli for advertising communication research should be as fully developed as possible. Although showing the ad at any stage (sketch, storyboard, etc.) works, well-developed executions will deliver the underlying strategy in a way that can come in ‘under the radar,’ just like a real ad.

The more stimuli look and feel like finished advertising, the greater validity in the findings.

Step 2: Design a Method for Deeper Thoughts

In-depth interviews (IDIs) have been the traditional approach since they allow researchers to explore the full sequence of one’s individual thoughts and feelings, without distraction or ‘contamination’ from others. Recently, however, Forbes has employed a rapid exposure image-driven exercise (MindSight??) in a focus group setting to circumvent rational thought and get to deeper motivational content ‘ the ‘paydirt’ of successful advertising communication.

Step 3: Expose Stimuli Just Once

The consumer who is exposed to an ad once will process it in a way that reflects the impact of all elements of the advertising ‘ imagery, tonality, and text that mimics what would exist in a real-world viewing. In contrast, repeat exposure creates a different balance of impact between these elements and changes the path of mental processing.

Step 4: Listen First

It is essential to learn precisely what the mental state of the respondent is after exposure to the advertising. Specific questions from the researcher too soon can be distracting ‘ taking the respondent’s mind off the track it was on after viewing the ad. The best approach is to simply let the respondent start talking. The respondent may talk about the advertising message right away, about a salient image, or something else entirely’but whatever the content, this is the first impact the stimulus had.

Step 5: Probe on Perception, Cognition and Emotion

Once an interview moves from unaided to aided probing, it is important to help the respondent accurately reconstruct spontaneous lines of thought. Probes of unaided material should be constructed to ‘fill out’ the three areas where psychology tells us that valid content exists. These areas are:

‘ Perception ‘ what was seen or heard
‘ Cognition ‘ ideas triggered by the perception
‘ Emotion ‘ feeling states triggered by the cognition

Step 6: Round Out the Discussion

 It is almost always necessary to conclude an advertising communication check with direct, aided probes in areas where no spontaneous feedback occurred. The recommended approach is to follow the natural processing sequence (perception, cognition, and then emotion) to reconstruct real reactions.


Although these steps maximize the validity of learnings in a communication check, the real world always comes into play where schedules and budgets act as constraints. Despite this, preserving the essence of the steps (summarized below) is critical to understanding the full impact of an ad campaign.
‘ Minimize respondent ‘imagination’ work
‘ Gather unaided responses wherever possible
‘ Make deeper levels of reaction the primary focus

For more information on Forbes Consulting please visit http://www.forbesconsulting.com/

4 Transmedia Campaigns To Learn From

Recent research by Google amplified a message that we’ve all been circling around:

Go mobile or get ready to lose customers

But if there is one takeaway that really sank in after the Mobile Marketing Conference last March, it’s that silo-ed is not the way to go. Your mobile marketing campaign needed to keep the mobile user in mind…but it should also integrate fully with all aspects of your marketing strategy.

Some brands already do this beautifully, employing “transmedia” approaches to tie consumers in across mobile, social channels, print or television and more. These are some of our favorites, each tailored to their ideal user:

For the thirsty TV viewer:What do we do while we watch TV? These days the answer may include “grab a snack” or “drink a beer,” but it frequently also includes using at least one other screen, perhaps texting with friends or playing an online game. Enter Grolsch / Big Bold Grolsch

This campaign goes from a TV spot to an online interaction to SMS to a coupon code with directions to the nearest store. Employing compelling storytelling and a continuous stream of actions for the viewer, the path to purchase couldn’t be clearer. Casual viewers are turned into purchases as they are engaged across multiple screens.

For the fanatic:
Your audience already exists and they will be online talking about your product, how do you guide or harness the energy of that conversation? Recent blockbusters Prometheus and The Hunger Games already had built in audiences via the Alien movies and The Hunger Games Trilogy respectively, but would they have been such box office gold if it weren’t for their multidimensional campaigns?

From this viral faux-TED talk: to a hashtag campaign Prometheus employed a wide range of strategies to re-energize existing Ridley Scott fans and drive online buzz about the film prior to its release.

Similarly, The Hunger Games played a long game with its existing fans, drawing the community into an addictive online world. As this New York Times article notes:

“But the campaign’s centerpiece has been a phased, yearlong digital effort built around the content platforms cherished by young audiences: near-constant use of Facebook and Twitter, a YouTube channel, a Tumblr blog, iPhone games and live Yahoo streaming from the premiere.”

For brands that have a history and existing fans, consider using a compelling content strategy across media to re-energize your base and fuel new interest.

For the Savvy Showroomer:Target made waves last May when it opted out of selling Amazon’s Kindle tablets. The New York Times reported that:

“Target has been trying to figure out how to stop Amazon shoppers from visiting Target stores to check out products, and then buy them online from Amazon.”

However, the retailer is taking steps beyond the exiling of the Kindle to encourage shoppers to visit the store and complete purchases on site. Most notably may perhaps be the Target partnership with Shopkick.

Shopkick delivers rewards to a consumer just for entering a store, but also encourages behavior such as pre-orders or product scans via mobile ads and tie-ins with social media or television actions (watching specific ads on The CW can now earn users “Kicks”.) With elements of gamification and an eye towards price-sensitive consumers, the app partnership helps to keep purchasers in-store.

I see multimedia campaigns like this continuing to grow. Mobile is an increasingly big slice of the marketing funnel and we’re excited to see more solutions that incorporate it as part of the bigger picture. What interesting strategies have you come across lately, or how could you apply these strategies to your brand?

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com

Audience Measurement Guest Post: Improve digital marketing with new ROI metrics, Google tells CPG marketers

This blog is co-posted with the Joel Rubenson on Market Research Blog.  Rubenson is a partner for The Audience Measurement Event taking place this May 21-23, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois. The event is focused on the business value and actionability of understanding and translating consumer media consumption, the event features a robust agenda filled with real world-case studies and new, never before seen content by visionary thinkers and industry pioneers.  When you register to join Joel for this program and mention AM12BLOG, you’ll receive 15% off the standard rate!  Visit the webpage to download the brochure and find out more about this year’s event.

Improve digital marketing with new ROI metrics, Google tells CPG marketers

This is the third of a three part interview with Catherine Roe, head of CPG for Google, leading up to the IIR Audience Measurement Event in Chicago May 21-23 where Catherine and I will both be speaking. Through special arrangement, I can offer my readers a 20% discount to this event. Just use the code AM12JR

Joel: Catherine, in our last two interviews, you dropped two bombshells saying that searches on Google.com related to recipes are up 38% in 2011 over 2010 to 7.8 billion. Then you gave CPG marketers a failing grade of 3 on a scale of 0-10

Catherine: Yes, a lot of it is cultural. They still fall back on what they know. They don’t want to crash the plane or sink the ship.

Joel: someone in media once said, ‘If we can’t measure it we can’t sell it’. In the first interview you talked about the importance of digital to the CPG path to purchase. How should this be measured?

Catherine: It’s funny you say that, quite honestly Joel, because that has been the biggest challenge. Marketers for years have been able to associate or correlate the value of traditional media such as their GRP or their TRP or their TV spot and model out the sales lift, even though there’s not a direct linear equation that she saw the Downey TV commercial on TV on Monday night and when she shopped on Wednesday she bought Downey because of the TV commercial. But, the fortunate thing is that marketers have figured out that correlation. Then you start throwing digital and all these additional touch points that I talked about into the mix and it’s not as easy because they don’t necessarily measure and correlate exactly the same as a TV TRP.

Joel: so what do you do about that?

Catherine: The way we like to coach our advertisers through it is to think about what all these moments that matter are on the way to the path to purchase and think about them as KVTs or ‘key value tasks’. To be able to associate a value to every one of those tasks that hits her in the path to purchase. So, as one example, I work with an advertiser that leverages a lot of online recipes as far as a way to engage consumers because they know that if their ingredients are used in a recipe, then that consumer is much more apt to go to the store and purchase that specific ingredient for their recipe. And through this key value task type of thought process, they’ve equated and they’ve modeled out for their group that one out of every ten recipe views correlates to an actual purchase in the store. So, by doing that they are able to back into the math that says: ‘Okay, if I get ten visits to my site and they view a recipe, then the value of that is X because the value of a purchase of one of these ingredients in a store is X’.

That’s what advertisers need to do today to say: ‘What is the value if somebody visits my website’?

‘What is the value if somebody downloads a coupon off of my website’? ‘What is the value if someone downloads a recipe’? ‘What is the value equation if somebody clicks on a click-to-call type of advertisement on mobile’? So, being able to identify along the path to purchase is not as simple as the TV commercial and the offline media and then jump to the store shelf. There are media points all along the way and it’s translating the value of each one of those points.

Joel: if we can think into the future, let’s say three years, what is the one demonstrable proof point that says: ‘They were listening. They got it.’

Catherine: I think the biggest challenge to not getting it today is that CPG companies for the most part use some type of media mix modeling and they try to use a square peg/round hole effect of just applying the same media mix modeling that they’ve used on TV, print, radio and their historical, traditional advertising. (In digital) But, what would be different in three years is that the CPG companies, coupled with the measurement companies (whether that’s the Nielsen’s of the world, the comScores) have to figure out which is the right way to measure these media and what is the ROI that I’m getting out of my digital dollar in comparison to my TV. If and when they do figure it out, they will actually put enough media (spend) in there to warrant a test.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Bob Dylan and Social Media

What is in common with Bob Dylan and the New Age Conversation Marketing Paradigm? Lots apparently. Dylan is a change poet. He has thrived on poetic escapades about pop culture and the changing society. If you listen carefully, he might have some profound thoughts on your business.
I created a construct from his songs- about the New Age Marketing.
Just a light hearted way of putting the point across- and Dylan Fans (Who isn’t?) will love it.
A sneek Peek here:Here is a dialogue construct between a audience, a traditional thinking marketer (TMM) and a new age engagement Marketer (NAM)- if they had to talk only through the lyrics of Bob Dylan songs (song links indicated- so you can enjoy the songs too!) TTM: (What advertising says to the audience): Baby let me follow you down, baby let me follow you down
Well I’ll do anything in this godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.
Can I come home with you, baby can I come home with you ? Audience: Not again. Been seduced enough. Something’s not right. Not again. Not one more night, not one more kiss,
Not this time baby, no more of this,
Takes too much skill, takes too much will,
It’s revealing. NAM to TTM: Look brother- She won’t just listen just because you are talking. Engage her. TTM to NAM: Hello? What the hell is that? Where’s the control? Where’s the quantifying of reach and frequency? How about GRPs of conversation? And how do you measure any of this? NAM: Sigh!
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free? Read on for more on ChasingTheStorm
Actually come to think of it- we could do this more often- Can we take a musician and a topic and build a conversation using the musician’s songs and the situation?Examples: Economic crisis and Mark Knopfler; Retrenchments and Rihanna (!), Environmentalism and Creed, etc (Bad examples- but I know you can be more creative than that)


Are you taking advantage of the iTunes Apps Store?

I recently found a post by Ben Lorica which looked into the best selling apps at the iTunes store. According to his post, the top sellers are apps dealing with sports, education and entertainment. Read his analysis.

After having a chance to browse the iTunes Apps store, I found a few companies who have already started to use it to their advantage. Slate has a Poll Tracker ’08. ESPN has a few apps as well. What could something like this do for your company? Have you seen a great example of companies taking advantage of the iTunes Apps Store?

Study Reveal Still Too Much Alcohol on TV

A report from the Center for Alcohol and Youth at Georgetown University revealed that youth underage were being exposed to more alcohol. The study is detailed here at the New York Times TV Decoder blog. The study found that the number of alcoholic advertisements on television for youth age 12-21 increased to 301 in 2007. This is up from youth viewing 216 ads in 2001. This increase comes with the beverage marketers voluntarily reducing the amount of commercial space they bought on television. However, the youth are being exposed to the alcohol advertisements on cable TV. Of the advertisements youth saw, 41% were for distilled spirits and 53% came from advertisers for beer.

Traditional Advertising Still Has Positive Effects

In a new study released today by Yankelovich with the Sequent Partners, summed up here at TV Decoder, a New York Times Blog, states that traditional media advertising still has more of an effect on consumers than digital media advertising. Of the people surveyed, 56% found that they left traditional media advertising with a positive feeling. In this study, traditional media advertising encompassed billboards, TV commercials, magazines, newspapers, radios, and movie theater advertising. In contrast, only 31% of those surveyed left digital media ads with a positive impression. Digital media advertising was defined as email messages, internet banner ads, social networking websites, video games and advertising on social networking websites. Other surveyors, 21%, left digital media with negative impression while 48% felt neutral, or had no impression from digital media. The survey looked at some of the variations why this could be, and found that when people were on the internet, they had a mission. They were less susceptible to noticing advertisements, while consumers who were watching TV were relaxed and more open to advertisements.

Studies find College Newspapers are Great for Advertising

In a recent article at BrandWeek, Steve Miller reports that 82% of college students read their college news paper. This is from a report recenetly done by Alloy Media + Marketing. In addition, 13% of college students said they avoided advertising when they read the news paper.
Very effective in the college news papers was the use of coupons. Of those who read their college newspapers, they reported a 78% of the coupons within college newspapers. For anyone with a 18 to 34 target range of customers, this is a great resource for advertising. As 55% of students claimed to have read their college newspaper within the last week of the survey, this untapped resource often goes unnoticed due to the national average.

Marketing to Girls: Most companies are missing the point, and the audience

A study performed by 3iying, Inc, a company who focuses on marketing to the millennial generation of girls, has released a report this year that shows that the majority of marketing companies have missed the boat when it comes to getting the newest generation of spenders to buy their product. Right now, the current generation of young girls is misunderstood. Most marketing campaigns that are targeted towards them do not appeal to their sense. If marketing companies don’t begin to get this new generation, than their losses could extend very far into the future. This study was done by interviewing girls in this age range ad the 3iYing office. Most girls opinions of the current marketing campaigns are: –Brands have lost their meaning –Products are boring –Advertising and marketing get tuned out –Retail is frustrating Marketing is failing to evolve with the modern girl. Contrary to previous generations, they have more advanced needs, desires and confidence levels. They also know they have many options so they are very picky. So why are they so different? –They shop differently –They socialize differently –They establish loyalty differently –They entertain themselves differently –They operate at a faster speed And what does this leave you to do as a marketer? How do you know what you are suppose to fix? Maybe you should start with what you are doing wrong: –Lack of relevant information presented –Wrong expertise –Multiple disconnections –Too slow for the modern pace of the girl –Too manufactured –Unable to captivate the audience –Poorly distributed information –Outdated aesthetics So 3iYing used the information they found in their study. How has this affected their business? Click here to finish the article and find out.